20. A Cure for Wellness
Gore Verbinski's feast of weirdness seems to tick all the right boxes, but as the movie drags on, it'll slowly start to dawn on you that the wizard behind the curtain is a monkey banging a steel drum. It's a gorgeous, beautifully shot film, but it's hollow, and ultimately pointless, and at 146 minutes you may even grow tired of it, before you realize it's got nothing to say.
19. The Fate of the Furious
Vin Diesel, you're a charmless douche. I can't wait for your candy ass to leave this franchise and turn it over to The Rock. Or better yet, bring back Gal Gadot and turn the whole show over to her, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster and Elsa Pataky. That's a movie I'd like to watch! At this point I only watch this franchise in the hopes of seeing Diesel, Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris die a horrible death. There's a joke here about Paul Walker, Diesel, Lennon and Yoko, but I'm not touching that.
18. Nocturnal Animals
If I had to sum up this film in one word it would be 'infuriating'. Sure it's a classy film, the actors are top-notch and the designs are stunning, but the story, oh dear, the story! The most unsatisfying non-story ever put on film. When the penny drops, when you finally find out how it all fits together, you'll feel a sting of disappointment, you haven't felt since Kanye West's fall collection was revealed. That's right, folks, we do fashion jokes here too.
17. Underverden (Darkland)
Someone was asleep at the wheel on this film. Or really high (yeah, I've heard stories). It's one of those movies that proclaims to tell a certain story, and then forgets to actually do it. Underverden would like to think it's a raw revenge tale, but it's dull, dumb, and - most crucially - it forgets that whole revenge part. The only thing its got going for it is the brilliant cinematography by Danish lenser Kasper Tuxen. Those pictures deserve a better film.
Who did Nicolas Cage's hair and glued-on moustache for this film? That's all I want to know. Was it an intern? Did this person have a drinking problem? Let's call this person Barry. Perhaps there was a death in Barry's family, and the only way he could cope was to work through it, and the nice people on this film let him, despite the end result. 'Look at this moustache! And what's up with the hair?!' someone blurted out, and then they were immediately hushed by a kind soul. 'It's Barry, he's going through some rough times, we all have to be here for him, don't mention it again'. I imagine the crew party, when the producer took the stage for the obligatory speech to the troops. Everyone on the crew was thanked, but the most important name was saved for last. 'And finally I want to thank Barry, who - despite his recent loss - managed to pull through and deliver this stunning facial hair for Mr. Cage, in a thousand years, when we're all dead and gone, this facial hair will still be remembered!' You got that part right.
15. Kate Plays Christine
This is just a misguided idea. A semi-documentary following an actress who prepares for a role in a project that doesn't exist. Yeah, how could that fail?
This is the very definition of Hollywood incompetence. Take a great, intense French film. Move it to a new location that doesn't work as well as the original. Hire a guy, who can't capture the raw nervousness the lead character requires. Write a bad script. If I didn't know any better, I'd think they did this shit on purpose.
13. Hacksaw Ridge
This is competently made, I'll give it that much. Mel Gibson can actually put a solid film together. The problem is the hypocritical story and the unbearable, holy message. It's too raw and has too good a cast to fall into the same category as those garbage 'faith based' movies. Nevertheless I'll judge it alongside those with equal amounts of disdain and irreverence.
12. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
This one baffles me. The first Jack Reacher was a tight thriller. This one feels like a double episode of one of those CBS shows only grandfathers watch. The story is uninspired and crushingly dull. Tom Cruise is completely off his game here, and Cobie Smulders is about as interesting as a wad of wet toilet paper. What say you, Hollywood? Have we learned something about prophetic titles by now?
11. xXx: Return of Xander Cage
Ah yes, the hero no one liked, returns to do a sequel no one wanted, in a franchise no one remembers watching. Vin Diesel is still trying to get a career going outside of the Furious franchise, and inexplicably people are still letting him do that. And from the collected world of the round-eyes, can I just say one thing? Fuck you, China! xXx 3 made $164 million there - FOUR times what it made in the US! Fuck you, China, for not helping us send a loud, clear message to Vin Diesel. Now he's gonna think he's a movie star for another decade. Burn some incense for that depressing idea.
10. Alien: Covenant
Ridley Scott fucked up on Prometheus. I know it. You know it. He knows it. That's why he decided to go back to something that more closely resembles the style of the original Alien film. What he should have done was abandon every single idea that has anything to do with Prometheus, but unfortunately he didn't. Instead, this is a hybrid of the bad ideas from Prometheus, combined with a weak copy of Alien. The worst of both worlds! And the most disheartening thing is that Scott has no idea that he failed, or why.
9. Underworld: Blood Wars
I had no expectations for this film, yet it still managed to disappoint. It's so crushingly bland that it's hard to describe. The plot is less exciting than watching paint dry. At least when you're done with that, something has been accomplished - the wall is now a new color - but the same can't be said for this film. Nothing happens. It doesn't mean anything. And the plot doesn't generate a single genuine human emotion. Unless complete and utter boredom counts. It even manages to make the stunningly sexy, leather-clad Kate Beckinsale boring!
8. The Assignment
Michelle Rodriquez plays a man in this film. And there's a full frontal nudity shot where we see her entire naked, hairy body and her giant schlong. That's it. That's all I got.
7. The Hitman's Bodyguard
The tone of this action-comedy is all over the place. One moment we're expected to laugh when Ryan Reynolds is stuck in a bus with singing nuns. The next moment a truck full of explosives plow through a group of people protesting at the trial for a war criminal. But the worst part of this fundamentally unlikable film is Samuel L. Jackson. He has never been more annoying than here. Not in Kingsman: The Secret Service, in The Spirit, or in Sphere. You'll want to punch his face until the skin slides off in bloody lumps. Not even another delightful, if misguided, turn from Ryan Reynolds can save this film. That's right, even Deadpool can't save this film! That's how much you fucking suck, Jackson.
6. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
The franchise that started as a cool, modern, zombie-horror-action movie has mutated into a grotesque beast that no longer bears any resemblance to a zombie movie, a horror movie or an action movie. Despite a careful 'last week on Resident Evil'-prologue, the film is incomprehensibly nonsense from the word go. Surprisingly, it manages to become even more preposterous and nonsensical along the way, as useless as the badly designed CGI monsters that populate the scenery. The action scenes are unintelligible, a blurry mess of quick cuts and shaky images, literally impossible to decipher 90% of the time. And don't get me started on the once cool heroine Alice. She's gotta be the worst military strategist in human or zombie history. She walks head first into like 3 traps within the first 20 minutes. And to top off this abomination, the movie, this so-called final chapter I'll remind you, ends with the line 'my work is not done yet'. Fuck you Paul Anderson.
5. 13 Hours
It's obvious why Michael Bay wanted to tell this story. It's about really cool military dudes, right? And they like shoot stuff and save lives, bro'! It's like totally awesome and like patriotic and stuff - is how I imagine the pitch meeting went. With the subtlety of a 3-foot spiked dildo, Michael Bay forces his tone-deaf, bullshit, macho attitude on a harrowing drama that deserves better. Undoubtedly, in different hands, this would have been a story worth telling, but with Michael Bay at the helm it's reduced to a long, loud and listless shootout. It would be bad enough if he just turned the event into an action film, but turning it into a dull action film is borderline unforgivable.
4. Assassin's Creed
This is not just utter nonsense. It's violently aggressive nonsense. The story is a rambling pile of utter garbage, the most idiotic mess imaginable. The action scenes are just collections of random clips, the effects are barely functional, and the whole venture seems shrouded in a dull, perplexing blanket of complete lack of effort. It makes Michael Fassbender look like he's the next Michael Paré. He might as well get started on that drinking problem now.
Did you watch Al Pacino in 88 minutes? If you did you probably, like me, thought "well, it can't get much worse than that." And then Hangman arrived. I'm not sure what's most depressing, how little this resemble something put together by adults with normal brain function, or how utterly disillusioned Karl Urban looks.
Never mind that the story makes no sense, and contradicts itself every 5 minutes, what's really crushing here is watching a once respected actor, stumble around in a partially catatonic state, while mumbling incoherent, seemingly improvised lines. Some of those old school Hollywood actors had the right idea. Die in a car crash, drink so much your heart explodes, or just fucking retire and write books instead, because this - a slow dissolve into mulch in front of our eyes - is just too damn heartbreaking.
It's hard to invest in a movie, or take it serious, when it feels like nothing is real, and everything is just a dream or an illusion. That's the case with mother! and that's simply because the whole film is one giant, thick, labored metaphor. You can go online and read interpretations, which seems to point to a very specific intention behind the film. I saw a completely different and much more interesting intention, though, but that's beside the point. What IS the point is that this is a laughable and dreadful assault on conventional narrative. A reverse clown-car of forced weirdness, without any immediately recognizable plot or purpose. In the middle, a desperately lost Jennifer Lawrence, wearing a permanent mask of shock and bewilderment - much like most viewers, I suspect.
Coming across like a fifth grade student, who just discovered symbolism, writer/director Darren Aronofsky clumsily, and with little regard for the viewer, stages a spectacularly unwatchable film, so unlikable that if you came across it in an dark alley, you would beat it to death with an tire iron. Oh, it's a unique work of art, no doubt about that. Monkeys throwing poo at a wall would also produce a unique 'work of art', mind you. You may have some fun, trying to figure out what the conceited director is trying to say, but it's an exercise in futility. Despite the blood, the gore, the grotesquely over the top finale, and all those precious metaphors, it turns out that there isn't much there, when all is said and done. Don't get me wrong, mother! creates a beautiful mess along the way, it also makes an awful lot of noise. Empty barrels often do.
1. Twin Peaks: The Return
David Lynch would like for us to pretend this 18 episode TV-series is a film. Very well, I shall grant him his wish. If this is a movie it's an 18 hour long slog. Don't get me wrong, there are moments of utter brilliance, truly terrifying scenes and spectacularly interesting ideas. They make up about 15 minutes of running time. The rest is cheap-looking, awkwardly staged, often inept buffoonery. Viewed in one-hour segments a week apart, this was a torturing experience. I can't image how it would feel to try to watch this in one sitting. The scattered plot is mostly made up of loose ends, slapstick comedy, and scenes where characters stare into thin air. Kyle MacLachlan plays a retarded copy of himself whose only dialogue is repeating the line just spoken to him. For SIXTEEN HOURS! It'll make you wish they had just left well enough alone.
Twin Peaks: The Return wasn't the show we expected, it wasn't the show we wanted, and it sure as shit wasn't the show we deserved. See you in 25 years, Mr. Lynch? Nope. Not if I see you first.
And there you have it. Next up: The best films from last year.